I met with a wonderful couple recently. It wasn’t the first time we had met as they had come in to Steidl and Steinberg about a year ago to look at options but decided to do things on their own without our help
Why didn’t they use our services?
It's the same reason why lots of people don’t consider the options available under the Bankruptcy Code. They don't like the sound of the word bankruptcy.
They were not going to lose anything, their debt payments were going to be reduced by about $800.00 per month, and they were paying back some money to their creditors. But they still don't like that word. Bankruptcy.
Where did they go? They went to one of the debt consolidation or debt settlement or debt negotiation services who send tempting offers to resolve your problems through the mail. All of these places emphasize how they are so different, but they are almost all the same. Many of them are either total scams or they cannot accomplish with certainty all they say they can.
That's what happened to these potential clients. The debt settlement agency they signed up with handed them a monthly payment and said they were going to contact all of the credit card companies. This particular agency had “legal insurance” and was going to handle any lawsuits that came up.
But they didn’t because a company from Florida is not authorized to practice law in Pennsylvania. The clients were sued. This is certainly not what they hoped for when they signed up with the Florida company.
What did we do? We prepared a Chapter 13 payment plan that was similar to the one I had done a year ago that was going to save my clients about $800.00 per month. That $800.00 per month is not like winning the lottery but, when you are a struggling family, it can almost seem like it. We stopped the lawsuit but the clients were many thousands of dollars poorer from the year’s worth of payments they will never get back.
The lesson here? If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Get some real advice from real people who know the territory and who have your best interests at heart.